How Caffeine Affects the Mother
When you are pregnant it is important to eat right and get plenty of rest. How does caffeine affect your body? It stimulates the central nervous system, and it can cause a rise in blood pressure as well as causing your body to experience stress. As a result of this stress, it is possible that it could cause anxiety, the suppression of adenosine, a chemical that helps your body to relax, and dehydration.
According to one research, pregnant women should not consume more than 200 milligrams of caffeine a day. This is about 11 ounces of coffee. If you cannot quit coffee, switching to decaf can help reduce the amount of caffeine you are consuming. Decaf is not totally free of caffeine, but it only contains a small amount. What are some of the reasons you should eliminate caffeine from your daily diet when you are pregnant?
How Long Does it Take Your Body to Process Caffeine?
When you are pregnant everything you consume passes through the placenta into the amniotic fluid and into the bloodstream of your baby. Your body is capable of processing the food and drinks fairly quickly. It will eliminate about 50% of the caffeine you eat or drink in approximately five hours and the rest within a little over a day. However, your baby is still developing, so the time it takes him or her to process the caffeine is much longer.
It does take longer for your body to process the caffeine when you are pregnant. It can take two times as long during the second trimester of pregnancy and three times as long during the third trimester.
Caffeine is Found in Products Other Than Consumables
Caffeine, although largely present in things you consume, is also present in things you use. For example, cocoa butter lotion has a small amount. Expectant mothers that used cocoa butter for stretch marks may put their babies at risk for lowered fetal heart arrhythmia if the baby has structural heart issues once they stop using the lotion. Caffeine is found in various products such as coffee, tea, energy drinks, and chocolate.
Is Low Birth Weight a Concern?
Avoiding caffeine during pregnancy continues to be researched and studied. One such study found that consuming over 300 mg of caffeine per day could cause low birth weight in babies. This can have residual effects since low birth weight is also linked to an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease later in life.
Caffeine and Dehydration
Caffeine can act as a diuretic when you consume a lot. Frequent urination can lead to dehydration causing a lot of problems for your unborn child. Some of the effects of dehydration during pregnancy include premature labour, low amniotic fluid, false contractions, and not having enough breast milk.
Extreme effects are birth defects, which was cited by French researcher, Dr Astrid Nehlig, in the 1994 journal Neurotoxicology and Teratology. A warning was issued in 1980 by the US Food and Drug Administration warning pregnant women to limit caffeine due to this effect.
Reduced Learning Capacities
In a study by the same researcher, experiments show that test animals had reduced learning capacities when exposed to 60 to 100 mg of caffeine during gestation. In addition, they spent less time exploring their surroundings. It is thought this could be linked to hyperactive disorders.
As previously stated research continues on the effects of caffeine on pregnant women and their unborn children. Although some studies have shown minimal effects from caffeine, it is agreed that the more that is consumed or used during pregnancy can cause immediate as well as future problems.